Monday, January 24, 2011

What We Have Lost II - The Pulpit

Notre Dame Basilica
Montreal Quebec, Canada
No longer used
"The desire to be more plainly understood was the reason why the preacher's platform was pushed towards the centre of the nave; which change led to its assuming the present form. It was not until modern times that the two terms attained clearly distinct meanings. At present the pulpit no longer serves for the reading of the Epistles and Gospels, nor as the tribune for singing, hence the eagle or dove formerly used as support of the book now has little meaning. A position in which the preacher could be heard throughout the church became necessary, and the pulpit was then adapted to receive a greater amount of adornment, having reference to the preaching of the Gospel. "

I do not claim to be any sort of authority on Church architecture. I only know that I am a Catholic who sorely misses all that was so thoughtlessly and wrecklessly dismantled in the last 45 years. My first memory of mass was in the 70's modern parish where a skylight was right over the plain altar and a hippy looking man with a long beard sat in the light strumming on a guitar....(heavy sigh)
I am not a sedevacantist, I am not an "ultra traditionalist" But I will say I often interiorly groan at Mass and I long for with all my heart beauty, solemnity, piety, orthodoxy - in a word authentic Catholocism. Not some remade neo-catholic-protestantism - which is what so many of our parishes have become.
Look at the visual emphasis placed upon the Church's readings and the Priest's homily to be said from such a pulpit. Where has this gone? See what we have lost?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What We Have Lost Part I

Altar Rail or Communion Rail

The railing which guards the sanctuary and separates the latter from the body of the church. It is also called the communion-rail as the faithful kneel at it when receiving Holy Communion.

It is made of carved wood, metal, marble, or other precious material; it should be about two feet six inches high, and on the upper part from six to nine inches wide. The "Rituale Romanum" (tit. iv, cap. ii, n. I) prescribes that a clean white cloth be extended before those who receive Holy Communion. This cloth is to be of fine linen, as it is solely intended as a sort of corporal to receive the particles which may by chance fall from the hands of the priest. It is usually fastened on the sanctuary side and when in use is drawn over the top of the rail. It should extend the full length of the rail, and be about two feet wide, so that the communicant, taking it in both hands, may hold it under his chin. Its very purpose suggests that it is not to be made of lace or netting, although there is nothing to forbid its having a border of fine lace or embroidery.

Instead of this cloth a gilt paten, larger than the paten used at the altar, to which a handle may be attached, or a small gilt or silver salver, or a pall, larger than the chalice pall, may be used. These latter are usually passed from one communicant to the other, and when the last at the end of the rail at the Gospel side has received Holy Communion the altar boy carries the paten to the first communicants at the Epistle side. A consecrated paten may never be placed for this purpose in the hands of lay persons.

Written by A.J. Schulte. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

For a return of the altar rail I am currently fighting at my parish. Recently my husband attended a Catholic men's group and a parish historian spoke. He related that shortly after Vatican II the entire parish came one Sunday for Holy Mass and the altar rail was GONE. No preparation, no explanation, no nothing. Just gone....I choke up just thinking about it. The priests had it removed and no one knows where it went. Next to go was the pulpit....

God have mercy on your people, save us from wolves in sheep's clothing who lead your flock astray and do not instruct the faithful of Your True Presence in Holy Communion. May we again recieve you with due reverence on our knees. Amen+